CELTIC 5 ST MIRREN 1: A BUNCH OF FIVES AS OH IS CENTURY BHOY

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CELTIC 5 ST MIRREN 1

SOUTH KOREAN striker Oh Hyeon-gyu became a Century Bhoy as he claimed his first – and Celtic’s 100th – goal of the season in the Scottish Cup win over St Mirren at a bouncing Parkhead tonight.

The 20-year-old January recruit was on the spot to sweep in the Hoops’ third strike as they finally made certain of a passage into the last eight of the competition.

The powerhouse hitman, a second-half substitute, celebrated big-style and was joined in the goalscoring stakes with a double from Reo Hatate and singles from Matt O’Riley and Daizen Maeda.

It looks a comfortable scoreline, but the truth is Celtic had to fight all the way for victory against spirited and highly-competitive opponents.

HANDS UP IF YOU’VE SCORED A GOAL…Oh Hyeon-gyu opened his account against St Mirren.

After just two minutes, Filipe Jota burst between two opponents, veered left then swept right to whip in a shot low from 12 yards to Trevor Carson’s left to force the keeper to get down swiftly to push the effort for a corner-kick.

Nine minutes later, Greg Taylor released Maeda on the left and his whiplash looping attempt flummoxed Carson and smacked off the left-hand post.

There was a blow for the Hoops in the 14th minute when top scorer Kyogo Furuhashi was forced to come off with what looked like a shoulder injury after being sent crashing as he was challenged by two defenders.

Ange Postecoglou immediately sent on Liel Abada and moved Maeda to the middle to lead the attack and switched Jota to the left.

Ninety seconds later, the Hoops broke the deadlock with a superbly constructed goal that shredded the Saints rearguard.

Alistair Johnston set the move in motion with a pass in front of Abada who moved forward menacingly before playing in Aaron Mooy. The in-form Aussie sizzled a low cross into the danger zone and Maeda arrived bang on time to turn the ball in from six yards.

BREAKTHROUGH…Daizen Maeda hit the opener to pave the way to a quarter-final place.

Simple and so very effective, combining precision and pace with a punishing penalty-box finish.

There was little doubt Stephen Robinson had his players fired up to snap into every challenge as they worked hard to keep Celts at bay. Ryan Strain and Jota were having their own contest on the left wing with no quarter asked or given between the combatants.

The Paisley side were up for a scrap as they delved into every tackle to ensure the hosts did not get into their stride.

The question at this stage of the game was could the visitors maintain such a high-level tempo. Only time would tell.

In the 28th munute, Maeda got his head to a near-post cross from Abada, but his effort swept well wide of the right-hand upright.

Cameron Carter-Vickers made a couple of excellently-timed challenges while his rearguard sidekick Carl Starfelt also made a good interception as the Saints proved troublesome in their counter-attacks.

VAR held up play after an obvious accidental clash between Johnston and Mark O’Hara which must have mystified the players as much as the fans.

JOY BHOYS…Reo Hatate and Greg Taylor celebrate another goal for Celtic.

Five minutes of stoppage-time was added on with the Hoops looking to add a second while making sure they kept the back door closed.

Jota had the opportunity to double the advantage as the minutes ticked down to the interval, but the Portuguese maverick’s attempt was high from close range.

Within 30 aeconds of the restart, Johnston sent over an inviting low cross from the right, but Maeda was a whisker away from making contact eight yards out.

In the 51st minute, Marcus Fraser turned a vicious low ball from Johnston onto his own post from four yards and the ball ricocheted to safety. It could so easily have gone straight into the net.

Saints, though, continued to battle and Callum McGregor was robbed by Tony Watt in a moment where he took his eye off the ball.

Jota was cutting a frustrated figure in his tussles with Strain as he failed to make his usual contribution.

THAT’S MY BHOY…Ange Postecoglou with Matt O’Riley who claimed his first goal of the season against St Mirren.

It was no surprise when the winger was replaced in the 63rd minute along with Mooy and Turnbull as Postecoglou put on Oh Hyeon-gyu, Hatate and O’Riley to freshen up the team. Remarkably, the trio shared four goals among them!

In the 72nd minute, there was a huge shout for a penalty-kick when Abada had a goalbound shot blocked by Richard Taylor’s left hand.

VAR instructed referee Steven McLean to review the incident. The match official returned to the pitch, pointed to the spot and red-carded the Paisley defender.

With Mooy off the pitch, the responsibility fell to Hatate to take the kick and the Japanese midfielder buried his effort low to Carson’s right after a four-minute delay.

Two minutes later, Sead Haksabanovic came on for Maeda who, as ever, had put in a stamina-sapping, selfless performance.

In the 80th minute, Parkhead erupted when new Bhoy Oh netted his first goal for the Hoops and killed the tie completely as a contest.

Some slick passing on the right involving Hatate, O’Riley and Johnston saw McGregor presented with a shooting opportunity on the edge of the box.

The skipper let fly with a low drive. Carson got down to block the drive, but Oh snapped up the rebound to wallop in the third and Celtic’s 100th goal of the season.

In the 85th minute, Starfelt was adjudged to have brought down Greg Kiltie and McLean immediately pointed to the spot. O’Hara stuck the consolation goal behind Joe Hart who went left as the ball went in the opposite direction.

In the 90th minute, O’Riley scored with a clever effort from outside the box after accepting a pass from Haksabanovic. The midfielder sent an arcing drive beyond Carson for his first goal of the campaign.

Six minutes into stoppage time, Abada whipped in a low ball from the right and Hatate almost ripped the net away with a 16-yard first-time effort to bring the scoring to a halt with a fine fifth goal.

Now all eyes are on the quarter-final draw which will be made on Monday evening.

Three Premiership teams who will not be in the ballot are Dundee United, Motherwell and Livingston who lost to Kilmarnock (0-1), Raith Rovers (1-3) and Inverness Caley Thistle (0-3) respectively.

St Mirren have now joined them among the also-rans, but they deserve credit for pushing Celtic all the way tonight.

TEAM:┬áHart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor; Turnbull (sub: O’Riley 63), McGregor, Mooy (sub: Hatate 63); Jota (sub: Oh 63), Kyogo (sub: Abada 14), Maeda (sub: Haksabanovic 78).

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